Friday, June 15, 2012 – A recent Forum Research poll revealed that Montrealers, who have just finished paying this year’s $2.9 billion in municipal taxes, are dissatisfied with their municipal services. And yet, municipal employees enjoy generous working conditions that are well above average. In fact, they work five fewer weeks a year than employees of large private corporations, and their total remuneration is $11,000 higher, according to an Economic Note published today by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).
The public sector’s retirement plans also stand out in terms of their generosity. In the vast majority of cases, civil servants’ retirement plan premiums are paid for in equal parts by the employer and by employees themselves. In Montreal, the employer covers on average 70% of the cost, and municipal employees just 30%.
Furthermore, the collective agreements of Montreal municipal employees stipulate that they cannot be dismissed following technical or technological improvements or changes to work procedures. In addition to this job security, the collective agreement of blue-collar workers establishes an employment floor of 3,804 regular employees. This requirement forces the City of Montreal to maintain a certain number of jobs by replacing workers who retire, for example. For Louis Fortin, certified industrial relations consultant and author of the Economic Note, these rigidities certainly make efficiency gains more difficult.
“Montreal taxpayers fund these exceptionally generous salaries and benefits that are out of reach for most of them. We can therefore ask ourselves if the notion of ‘public service’ shouldn’t also include greater respect for Montrealers’ ability to pay,” says Mr. Fortin.
The Economic Note entitled The Working Conditions of Montreal Municipal Employees was prepared by Louis Fortin, certified industrial relations consultant and associate researcher at the MEI. It can be consulted free of charge on our website.
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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.
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